BY: CHRIS THOMAS
Like many Americans, I was shocked and dumbfounded at the images projecting from the screen one December 14, 2012. In the days that followed, a somber nation mourned the loss of children. But that was not all; a re-energized and vigorous debate began popping up over the internet, airwaves, and in print about gun violence. A line had been drawn and families were choosing sides. It had reached an emotional boiling point for both sides of the aisle.
On January 22, 2013, I viewed more images of a shooting at Lone Star College in Houston, Texas. I expect this incident to only fuel even more the gun control debate. As I watched the images of this recent tragedy, I came across a statement that left me flabbergasted.
“Jesus was a socialist”.
I was appalled at the ignorance and the naivety of that statement. I have seen the innocence of children used as a shield for gun control. I have seen the faces of poverty used as a sticking point for the redistribution of wealth. Jesus is now being brought into the mix. As I pondered that statement, I reflected on the life of Jesus as recorded in the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. A great truth dawned upon me. While socialism and liberalism is not mentioned in the Bible by name, their principles and ideologies are.
A closer examination of the Pharisees and their principles and ideologies would actually reveal the very same ideology and principles of liberalism and socialism today.
One of the first reactions to the shooting of Newton is “Ban assault weapons”. In early January, President Obama issued 23 executive orders. Do you see the picture? More laws. More rules. More regulations. The Pharisees were infamous for taking the original law of God and adding their own rules and regulations.
In Jesus confrontation with the Pharisees in Matthew 23, it will serve us well to read the whole chapter, but for the sake of brevity, a few crucial verses will be highlighted. Let us see the issue Jesus faced and ask, is that a picture of today?
1) Pride – But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men. But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. (Matthew 23:5-8)
- These men were not doing it for the benefit of others; they were doing it for their own selves.
2) Pretend – and for a pretense you make long prayers (Matthew 23:14)
- I have been appalled at the amount of verses that have been thrown around by liberal left in an attempt to appear devoutly religious despite their beliefs which is in direct contradiction to the Word of God, much like these Pharisees.
3) Perjurers – Therefore, whoever swears by the altar, swears both by the altar and by everything on it. And whoever swears by the temple, swears both by the temple and by Him who dwells within it. And whoever swears by heaven, swears both by the throne of God and by Him who sits upon it. (Matthew 23:20-22)
- These men were making promises and not keeping them. Enough said.
4) Opportunists – “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. (Matthew 23:23)
- It amazing that these Pharisees were so big on the law but yet they were purposely ignoring the most important parts of the law. It is understandable that this point could certainly be expounded in a whole other section. Let me leave with you an example – The Bible teaches welfare coupled with teaching responsibility. The government ignores the responsibility part.
If there is one characteristic of the Pharisees that I see in the liberal and socialist agenda, it is the ignorance of the issue. Read the words of Jesus.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full [w]of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. (Matthew 23:25-28)
Therein lays the problem. The Pharisees were ignoring the real issue. In today’s America the real issue is being ignored. The problem with America is not what is in their hands. The problem with America is what is in their hearts. Until America, changes what is inside, they will continue to struggle with epic meltdown of the sanctity of life, from the streets of Chicago, to the doctor’s offices of Planned Parenthood, to the classrooms of our local schools.